Housing in Dallas should be affordable and abundant
The cost of housing in Dallas is exploding right now, whether you are a renter or homeowner (Source. Source), The best way to ensure that housing is available to everyone is to build a lot of housing. Study after study has shown that the more housing built somewhere, the more affordable housing is there (Source). This is true both at a city level, and oftentimes at a neighborhood level as well, even when the new buildings are market-rate housing. (Source). Building more housing is also critical for giving people more choices in where they live. The vacancy rate in Dallas apartments is now the lowest it has been since 1995 (Source), giving power to landlords to raise rents since tenants have no other options. More Neighbors Dallas advocates for increasing the supply of housing as well as increasing the affordability of housing by directly funding/subsidizing the cost of housing for lower-income families and individuals.
Everyone in Dallas deserves a home
People without housing are the most vulnerable people in Dallas. The best way to end homelessness is to provide everyone with housing. A strong relationship also exists between the cost of housing and rate of homelessness (Source) meaning that a low cost of housing is one of the most effective ways to prevent homelessness. The Housing First model has been shown to be the most effective way to provide stability so that individuals are able to improve their mental health and job status (Source). Homelessness is not only bad for the homeless but a drain on our economy and public resources. It costs taxpayers more money when people are chronically homeless than to house the homeless (Source). Having a home is the basis of having a stable life. Every person in Dallas deserves a place to live, no questions asked. While many services exist to help the homeless, many don't focus on the centrality of housing. Dallas should make every possible effort to end homelessness by increasing funding for housing for the homeless as well as removing barriers that keep the homeless from accessing services.
Building more Housing in Dallas is good for the Environment
Climate change is a crisis, and the development pattern of DFW is not sustainable for a healthy planet. Having sprawl and forcing people to drive everywhere in their cars raises greenhouse gas emissions as well as decreasing air quality. One of the most effective way that Dallas can reduce the regions greenhouse emissions is by building housing closer to jobs, transit, and other amenities so that people aren't driving so far (Source). Single-family housing also uses more energy than other types of housing like townhomes, duplexes, and large apartment complexes (Source). Dallas can become more green by having more people live in it.
Housing in Dallas is built on Racism and Segregation.
Racism is deeply rooted in our history and political system, and our physical environment still reflects and reinforces those divisions in the city. From its modern inception, Dallas has been a city starkly divided along racial lines with white city leaders deciding the structure of the city down to the neighborhood level (Source). Today, Dallas is an incredibly diverse city, but it remains a city divided by race (Source).
Residents in northern Dallas neighborhoods routinely oppose any new multi-family buildings in their neighborhood, keeping their area incredibly expensive and nearly impossible for lower income families to live in. Dallas must reckon with its history of housing segregation and how that segregation persists today through existing zoning and city policy.
Dallas Politicians must advocate for all Dallas residents
Dallas has one of the lowest voting rates for our local elections of any major American city (Source). This low rate of voter turnout warps our politics and makes the concerns of the wealthy paramount. 60% of the residents of Dallas are renters (Source), but you would never know this if you listen to city council members in large part because the voting rate of renters is incredibly low. A central focus of More Neighbors Dallas is refocusing housing issues onto the ones that make a difference for the 60% of the city that are renters. That includes pushing for policies like stronger eviction protections and protection against rent increases. Through our coalition, we aim to to organize renters and grow their political power.
Urban Sprawl in Dallas limits Economic Mobility and Inclusion
Dallas is one of the least economically and racially inclusive cities in the country, ranking 272nd out of 274 in overall economic inclusion (Source). Dallas might be booming, but the status quo does not help poor people or people of color, particularly Black people.
Part of the issue is that our city is so spread out. Upward economic mobility is more likely when people live in more compact areas (Source). Urban sprawl makes living without a car almost impossible, and cars are EXPENSIVE. The median household in Dallas spent $1,165 per month on transportation costs in 2019, meaning the combined cost of housing and transportation is only $60 less in Dallas than in New York City (Source) Our urban sprawl also makes DART's job impossible since our homes and jobs are dispersed. This hits our lowest income residents the hardest since they are the ones who rely on DART the most. (Source)
Change should happen in every neighborhood in Dallas
This part of our philosophy comes from Strong Towns: no neighborhood should be exempt from change and no neighborhood should experience sudden, radical change. Development in Dallas often harms residents because wealthy (mostly white) neighborhoods block housing in their area meaning development is concentrated in poorer (mostly Black and Hispanic) areas causing displacement. Dallas cannot shy away from building the housing necessary to keep prices down, and that means allowing for more housing, especially affordable housing, to be built in wealthier neighborhoods. Development must also occur in neglected neighborhoods, but it must be done in a way to benefit both new and existing residents.